Ignorance of evolution damages Texas business

Ouch.  As I noted in my testimony in 2003, much of Texas business is based on the pragmatic applications of evolution.   Today, the Texas State Board of Education heard that businesses are leaving Texas because of the danger that an ill-educated workforce might hamper the business.

According to Evosphere:

Andrew Ellington, the UT Austin biochemistry professor spoke and said that he has formed two biomedical companies that use “directed evolution” (he presumably means gene sequencing techniques) to manufactures and delivers drugs for humans. He started these in Boston, MA, and Durham, NC, not Austin, because he needed to be sure there were plenty of workers properly trained in evolutionary biology that could understand the modern recombinant DNA techniques that are needed to produce and deliver the drugs. He spoke harshly about the “retrograde” Texas SBOE and its interference in accurate and reliable science education.

Most of the members of SBOE were there in 2003 when they tried to trap Ellington into admitting that evolution couldn’t occur because of the “handedness” issue.  Ellington’s lab was where the handedness issue was put to bed, and he instead delivered a 15-minute tour-de-force lecture on how handedness is not a problem for evolution at all.

Dr. Andrew Ellington, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Texas, spoke to reporters at a Texas Freedom Network press conference following his testimony to the Texas State Board of Education, November 19, 2008

Dr. Andrew Ellington, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Texas, spoke to reporters at a Texas Freedom Network press conference following his testimony to the Texas State Board of Education, November 19, 2008

I guess they didn’t listen then.  Will they listen now?

11 Responses to Ignorance of evolution damages Texas business

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    No, John, I’ve not seen it — but I would have sworn Tony Whitson made a comment to the effect it’s available. Of course, now I can’t find it.

    Readers? Can you help?


  2. John Kingman says:

    Ed, have you seen a transcript of the November public testimony yet? I couldn’t find it on the TEA/SBOE site.


  3. Ed Darrell says:

    What distinction is there between “macro” and “micro,” James? In science circles, “macro” means that there is enough evolution to distinguish a new species — “micro” means less than that. Same mechanisms, same process, same results.

    Can you find a serious science paper that discusses the issue? It’s not an issue among scientists at all. Macro evolution — speciation — has been observed dozens of times, in the lab and in the wild. There is no reason to differentiate where differentiation only makes a difference in Sunday school.


  4. James says:

    How is one to dialogue honestly when the simple distinction of macro vs. micro is not made, something this little blurb most certainly calls for in this blurb? I’m assuming this is a preaching to the choir site…so be it. But you need be a bit more careful than that, you think?


  5. POed Lib says:

    More and more, the “conservative thought process” is indistinguishable from “stupidity”. While not all conservatives are stupid, all stupid people are conservative. They cannot think outside of their own petty persons, and see larger pictures. No intelligent person today can be Republican conservative, and you will see, over the next 8 years, a larger and larger divergence of the intelligencia from conservative.

    And, F— YES, we are elite. Thanks for noticing.


  6. Ed Darrell says:

    There’s always a transcript. It’s generally in .pdf form, it’s generally quite a while later, and for the written testimony, it’s generally an image that you can’t do anything with.

    There’s a court reporter at the sessions. Transcripts shouldn’t take a long time, really.


  7. Tony Whitson says:

    Ed writes:

    I’d love to have a copy before the transcript is done, if you have it

    Is there going to be a transcript? I see audio archives on the SBOE site (they are there now from Wed), but I didn’t see transcripts. Or is somebody else transcribing?


  8. Ed Darrell says:

    Bradley and McLeroy asked Ellington questions in 2003. They thought they had him — they asked him to explain how evolution could be possible since most molecules in life are left-handed, and spontaneously, most of the time we get evenly balanced chirality, about equal left-handed and right-handed molecules.

    They didn’t bother to read his credentials. Ellington delivered a short lecture that just explained what his lab had done, which was demonstrate that handedness easily results from natural reactions (especially at the surface of water, as I recall).

    So, I suspect that they didn’t ask Ellington anything because they didn’t want to learn anything. Especially they didn’t want to learn anything that would force them to reconcile their religious position with reality, or anything at all that would contradict their predetermined outcome.

    Wendee, did you get a copy of Andy’s testimony? I’d love to have a copy before the transcript is done, if you have it


  9. I was there and my testimony – in which I told the creationists they were guilty of willful deception, in other words lying – and Chair McLeroy interrupted me and told me I was not allowed to use the word lying! No joke! I named several of the creationist Board members by name, at which point Bradley started waving his hands in the air because I missed him, and they started laughing.

    Check out http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/11/21/11102/072?new=true where i have a full account. And yes Ellington was fantastic! And ironically the Board asked him NO questions, saving their questions (which were just excuses to get their opinions out there) for the students!


  10. Tony Whitson says:

    Also note the Texas gov’s new appointment for head of the Higher Education Board, which is in talks with the Institute for Creation Research over their bid for accreditation of a masters degree program for certification of “science” teachers. See


  11. RBH says:

    “Will they listen now?” Sadly, I doubt it.


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